Tell us about Khatabook’s journey so far and how your core tech stack has enabled it?
Khatabook’s journey has been exciting and overwhelming. We celebrated our 2 year anniversary in December 2020. Today, we are an early market leader for digital bookkeeping in India. Our aim has been to digitally solve business problems for Bharat’s millions of merchants. MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) form 30% of India’s economy, yet there were hardly any digital innovations in the market that catered to this segment’s needs. As digital adoption was slowly picking up in the nook and corners of our country, we felt all the more firmly about innovating for India’s MSMEs.
Today, Khatabook is India’s fastest growing SaaS company that enables MSMEs to increase efficiency and profitability through safe and secure digital solutions for business and finance. The flagship Khatabook app is a digital ledger solution. To digitize end-to-end business processes for MSMEs, the company has also launched MyStore by Khatabook, a digital shopfront platform, and Pagarkhata by Khatabook, a staff and salary management platform. Founded in 2018, Khatabook today is available in 13 languages with 8.5 million monthly active users spread across 95% of the districts in India.
With such a large user base, the most important aspect for engineering was to focus on developing scalable technologies. Khatabook relies heavily on cutting-edge open-source technologies. Data is the lifeline of Khatabook teams. Our marketing, product, and operations team rely heavily on data to drive insights and future growth. As our requirements grew, we decoupled compute and storage to support parallel compute capabilities on the same data. In the last few months, we have focused a lot on developer experience and productivity too. We are strengthening our CI/CD & test automation abilities. We are focusing a lot on self-serve tooling and services to decouple dependencies for better developer ownership.
Can you share more information about your products? How is it benefiting the users?
The adoption of our digital ledger app, Khatabook, in the country’s SME retail sector indicates the value we have created for our users like Kirana shop, medical shops, tuition, gym, distributors, wholesalers, etc. The product and tech innovations on the platform are done, keeping in mind the digital behavior of Bharat – people who are new to the digital platform, use low-end devices, and come from the districts beyond the tier 1 region. We understood the requirements of first-time users. We developed a ‘no-frills,’ AI-embedded, user-friendly interface, with vernacular language compatibility that works well for them. Khatabook has emerged as one of the fastest-growing B2B companies in the world.
The users of Khatabook find huge value in not having to write entries manually in Bahi Khatas. Losing one page or a drop of water on an important number means a huge business loss for a vegetable vendor or kirana store. Now, their records are digital and completely backed up. Even if their existing phone breaks the records remain intact. Also, automated reminders to customers along with digital payment links have made recovery of money for sale on credit has made our users’ life very easy and have positively impacted their business cash flows.
Is Khatatabook using emerging technologies to improve its products and services? What are those?
We use Machine Learning to understand our users better and rely on cutting-edge open source technologies to build software. Our frontend stack includes Kotlin (Android), Swift (iOS) and React, Redux, and Svelte with Typescript (Web). On the backend, our core services use Typescript, Node.js, NestJS, and Postgres. We use Docker for containerization, Jenkins for automation, and are hosted on AWS. We are also using ELK stack, Prometheus, Grafana for logging and monitoring.
Which emerging technology are you most excited about?
Voice recognition has made great strides in the last few years. In the beginning, the innovation and research were limited to English and other prominent western languages but now the prominent Indian languages are also almost as good. We are awaiting its evolution to other dialects and languages that are spoken in the heartlands of India. Looking forward to building great products with it that will make the lives of our merchants even better.
Is there any technology that you would like to experiment with or implement in Khatabook’s products and services?
As we are building an ecosystem of applications for MSMEs, our teams and the services they own have grown tremendously. Managing all these services, each with millions of users requires a lot of infra management. We recently evaluated Kubernetes for service orchestration and are in the process of transitioning to it. It will help us achieve optimal use of our infrastructure as well as empower teams to manage their deployments and services much more easily.
What are your future growth and expansion plans from a tech perspective?
We want to create a tech ecosystem for MSMEs. We have recently launched Pagarkhata app for salary and staff management for MSMEs. We intend to digitise every workflow for small businesses while keeping the backend the same. We intend to pioneer tech ecosystem for small businesses in India and provide them same level of efficiency and services that urban users have been enjoying in the digital age.